A dismissed law professor has won her bid to a hearing before a human rights tribunal on her claim that expecting her to submit work to peer-reviewed journals, which she had failed to do in her 11 years at the University of British Columbia, “is contrary to indigenous oral traditions.” [National Post]
“Identity politics can leave a trail of broken bodies and broken hearts… [ICWA treats] children, however attenuated or imaginary their Indian ancestry, as little trophies for tribal power.” George Will (alternate link) on a law I’ve also written about, the Indian Child Welfare Act:
The act empowers tribes to abort adoption proceedings, or even take children from foster homes, solely because the children have even a minuscule quantum of American Indian blood. Although, remember, this act is supposedly not about race….
In final adoption hearings in Arizona, a judge asks, “Does this child contain any Native American blood?” It is revolting that judicial proceedings in the United States can turn on questions about group rights deriving from “blood.”… This is discordant with the inherent individualism of the nation’s foundational natural rights tradition, which is incompatible with the ICWA. It should be overturned or revised before more bodies and hearts are broken.
Live now: The Goldwater Institute has filed a multi-sided challenge to the operation of the Indian Child Welfare Act. AD v. Washburn; website at EqualProtection.org; investigative report Death on a Reservation; Goldwater policy paper. More updates will follow.
Related: in Minnesota, a Twin Cities couple represented by attorney Mark Fiddler has filed suit saying that ICWA violates their constitutional rights by requiring that they notify the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe before proceeding with plans to allow a non-Indian couple to adopt their infant. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune] Also: Johnston Moore, Children Deserve Families.
- “Lawyers Won 10x Fee Payoff By Avoiding Competition, Objector Claims” [Daniel Fisher, Center for Class Action Fairness on Capital One TCPA settlement]
- DMCA surprise: “Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt; Pete Bigelow, AutoBlog]
- Comments deadline May 19 on proposed Indian Child Welfare Act regulations; American Academy of Adoption Attorneys files comments warning they go beyond statute, will harm kids [related group, earlier and general]
- Asbestos lawsuits are “economic engine” of rural Edwardsville, Ill. [Associated Press]
- Chicago pays damages to victims of police torture, suggestively labeled “reparations” [Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post, thanks for quote]
- Court dismisses pro se litigant’s handwritten “God v. gays” complaint for lack of basis for federal jurisdiction, other predictable deficiencies [Volokh, Lowering the Bar and followup]
- “Starbucks not liable in police coffee-spill case, jury decides” [WRAL, earlier]
- “The FAA Says You Can’t Post Drone Videos on YouTube” [Vice] Agency rethinking position following outcry? [Photography Is Not a Crime]
- Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) proposes bill directing Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue safety rules for detergent pods [Paula Bolyard, Heartland, quotes me; earlier] Bonus: Lenore Skenazy on CPSC zipper hooded sweatshirt recall;
- New Jersey high court — Gov. Christie’s appointees included — will now take over direct enforcement of court’s previous decisions (“Mount Laurel”) requiring towns to adopt low-income housing quotas [Bergen County Record, earlier]
- Bureau of Indian Affairs revises federal guidelines on Indian Child Welfare Act, and a nonprofit group of adoption attorneys says that not only were it and other stakeholder groups not consulted, but “entire sections” of the revision “completely disregard the best interest of children,” something ICWA alas encourages by its text [American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, earlier]
- Should winning class action plaintiff lawyers be able to mark up their expenses, such as photocopying, as two law professors propose? [Andrew Trask last year]
- “Attorney who appeared in more than 3,000 asbestos cases disbarred … ‘Excuse Man’ also loses license” [Chamber-backed Madison-St. Clair Record]
- If you see an online ad for $199 divorce, maybe think twice before giving them your debit card info over the phone [KTVK, Phoenix]
- In November I wrote in Jurist on a Third Circuit panel’s refusal to order that sports great Jim Thorpe be disinterred and reburied under provisions of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA); in response, Elizabeth Varner, Diane Penneys Edelman and Leila Amineddoleh of the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation argue that the panel could have based its result on specific language in the statute rather than via the roundabout path it did take [Jurist]
- Electing judges, a relic of Jacksonianism, still generating problems today [John Steele Gordon, Commentary]
- “Obama issues ‘executive orders by another name'” [USA Today on Presidential “memoranda”; earlier on executive orders]
- “Legislators Say E-Cigarette Companies Are Bound by an Agreement Reached Before They Existed” [Jacob Sullum]
- Woman upset at exclusion of service kangaroo but agrees to leave McDonald’s [AP, Wisconsin News, earlier (although local law may vary, federal government these days takes view that aside from qualified dogs and some miniature horses, ADA does not require businesses to accept customers’ service animals)]
- Join the crowd: “Various plaintiffs v. various defendants,” an actual case caption [Lowering the Bar]
- “..the very kind of odious racialization of politics that Congress wrote the Voting Rights Act to forbid” [Ilya Shapiro]
- Michael Greve reviews new James Buckley book offering critique of fake (“cooperative”) federalism under aid-to-state programs [Liberty and Law; Chris Edwards/Cato on Buckley book, more]
- Cuban expatriates will now have access to US banking services. Next step: call off Operation Choke Point so domestic businesses can have it too. [earlier coverage of Choke Point including its effects on, yes, cigar shops; details on new relaxation of Cuba sanctions, and related effects of banking sanctions]
- Sac and Fox tribe appeals ruling in favor of town of Jim Thorpe, Pa. on demands for disinterment and return of remains of athlete Jim Thorpe [Allentown Morning Call, my recent writing on the case here and here]
- NFL owners “rarely settle any dispute… Each owner pays only 1/32nd of the legal bill, and the owners love to fight” [ESPN]
- Adios Google News: Spanish press “not even waiting for the blood to dry on the hatchet before bemoaning the loss of their golden eggs” [Julian Sanchez, Cato]
- Union official knew New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was going to sue pizza operator before the operator did. Hmmm [Kevin Mooney, Daily Signal]
- Nevada goes to ridiculous lengths unsuccessfully trying to regulate airport taxis, but at least they’ll try to keep you from using ride-sharing, so that’s something [Blake Ross, Medium; Reuters]
Bad enough for Congress to meddle in adoptions in hopes of helping out Indian tribes. But…burials? My new guest column at Jurist examines the first-of-its-kind lawsuit by which some descendants of Native American sports great Jim Thorpe are trying to use the law to require the borough of Jim Thorpe, Pa. to yield up his remains for re-interment in Oklahoma. It concludes:
In a nation where people regularly fall in love across ethnic lines, laws that assign rights differentially to some members of families based on descent or tribal affiliation are especially hard to justify under US Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. … Say what you will about the Third Circuit’s reasoning, it at least postpones the day when tribal enmities extend into our very cemeteries, and even the dead cannot escape counting based on race.
- Department of surreal headlines: “Detroit Mayor’s Office Disappointed With UN’s Stance on Water Shutoffs” [MLive.com via Deadline Detroit, earlier on customers who don’t pay Detroit water bills]
- “When Mr. Bond first impregnated Mrs. Bond’s best friend, the international Chemical Weapons Convention was probably the furthest thing from his mind.” [Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Cato Supreme Court Review (PDF), earlier on Bond v. U.S.]
- A case against including investor/state protections in trade negotiations [Daniel Ikenson, Cato] Issue leading leftists, libertarians separately to discover merits of sovereigntism? [Julian Ku, Opinio Juris]
- Survey of rapidly changing field of transnational antiquities law [ABA Journal]
- Canada, like U.S., gets periodic U.N. tongue-lashing over its relations with Indian tribes/native peoples [Kathryn Fort, ConcurOp]
- With U.S. isolated on firearms issues, U.N.’s contemplated Programme of Action on Small Arms not quite so innocuous [Ted Bromund, more, earlier here, here, here, and here]
- “The U.S. government should be careful about entering into new international agreements and treaties precisely because international laws do have legal force.” [Jason Sorens, Pileus]
Now this is welcome: the New York Times (via Ronald Bailey) has a column by George Johnson jumping off from the question of whether locating a giant telescope on Mauna Kea would unfairly desecrate the religious and ancestral heritage of (some) native Hawaiians. Johnson notes:
While biblical creationists opposing the teaching of evolution have been turned back in case after case, American Indian tribes have succeeded in using their own religious beliefs and a federal law called the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to empty archaeological museums of ancestral bones — including ones so ancient that they have no demonstrable connection to the tribe demanding their reburial. The most radical among them refuse to bow to a science they don’t consider their own. A few even share a disbelief in evolution, professing to take literally old myths in which the first people crawled out of a hole in the ground.
In this turn back toward the dark ages, it is not just skeletal remains that are being surrendered. Under the federal law, many ceremonial artifacts are also up for grabs. While some archaeologists lament the loss of scientific information, Indian creationism is tolerated out of a sense of guilt over past wrongdoings.
Even some scientists bow and go along in the spirit of reparations, while admitting the loss to human inquiry and future knowledge. Earlier on NAGPRA and the Kennewick Man controversy here, here, etc.